For the last of my Black History Month tributes to African-American Scientists, I spotlight Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, a pioneer in turn-of-the-century surgery and sterile procedure, founder of early African-American and integrated hospitals, and instructor of medicine.
A good bio from which much of this was taken:
Williams was born to a mixed-race family in
Although some members of the family lived as whites, and he could also have done so, Daniel refused to "pass" and actively identified himself as Black. Soon after his father died his mother sent her children to live with different relatives, except Daniel, who was apprenticed to a shoemaker in
For the next several years he worked and lived with various cousins, but when he was 16 he struck out on his own and moved to
Because of primitive social and medical circumstances existing in that era, much of Williams early medical practice called for him to treat patients in their homes, including conducting occasional surgeries on kitchen tables. In doing so, Williams utilized many of the emerging antiseptic, sterilization procedures of the day and thereby gained a reputation for professionalism. He was soon appointed as a surgeon on the staff of the South Side Dispensary and then a clinical instructor in anatomy at Northwestern. In 1889 he was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health and one year later set for to create an interracial hospital.
On January 23, 1891 Daniel Hale Williams established the
Williams is perhaps best known for a surgery he performed at
In February 1894, Daniel Hale Williams was appointed as Chief Surgeon at the Freedmen's Hospital in
During this time, Williams married Alice Johnson and the couple soon moved to
When the American Medical Association refused to accept Black members, Williams helped to set up and served as Vice-President of the National Medical Association. In 1912, Williams was appointed associate attending surgeon at St. Luke's and worked there until his retirement from the practice of medicine.
Upon his retirement, Daniel Hale Williams had bestowed upon him numerous honors and awards. He received honorary degrees from Howard and
Williams died from a stroke on August 4, 1931, in